Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finally Good News: Survey shows California farmers profit from agritourism!

Tanaka Farms, pick-your-own produce tours, IrvineI am so happy to share a bit of good news for California's farmers. According to a survey conducted by UC Davis' Small Farm Center (a great organization) "California farmers and ranchers hosted more than 2.4 million agricultural tourists in 2008, according to early results from California’s first statewide economic survey of agritourism operators."

Check out the preliminary survey results for more detailed info.

What exactly is agritourism? Here's a definition that I included in a story I did on the topic for California Tour and Travel, back in 2004

Agri-tourism takes many forms and includes such diverse activities as farm tours, bed and breakfast farm stays, Christmas tree farms, corn mazes, agricultural/historical museums, petting farms, farm markets, food festivals, pick-your-own produce farms, roadside produce stands, nurseries, greenhouses, and wineries. Many farms also enhance the visitor’s experience with home-cooked meals, pies and desserts, gift shops, picnic areas, hayrides, train rides, and even cooking and gardening classes.

According to the survey, "Most agritourism operators who responded to the survey reported their agritourism businesses generated some profit. A majority said they are planning to expand or diversify their agritourism offerings over the next five years. In addition, 22 percent of agritourism operators reported more than $100,000 in agritourism receipts for 2008."

The survey also showed that most visitors are local, another great trend!
“We are excited to find that agritourism really seems to work for a lot of small farms,” said Penny Leff, statewide agritourism coordinator for the UC Small Farm Program. “Our results also show that agritourism is primarily local. More than 85 percent of reported visitors were from California.”

Let's help keep the trend going and make sure we visit a local farm and help support California’s small farmers!

Underwood Family Farm, Moorpark, they have pick-your-own-produce, birthday party areas, and a great farm stand

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